San Antonio Spurs stand between Golden State Warriors and immortality
The Golden State Warriors suffered just their seventh defeat of the 2015-16 NBA season in an eight-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Outstanding point guard Steph Curry put in a rare poor performance at the AT&T Center, making just four out of his 18 shots at the net.
The 28-year-old notched just 14 points against the Spurs, which is his lowest total since his side’s comfortable win over the New York Knicks in January.
Gregg Popovich’s men managed to stifle the reigning MVP by knocking him out of his rhythm early in the contest to claim the crucial victory and continue their own fine campaign. They even limited the visitors to their lowest score since February.
Golden State face the prospect of having to win 11 of their final 13 matches to seal their immortality and claim the best all-time regular season record in the history of the NBA, beating out the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
The reigning champions will be confident of achieving the feat with the majority of their remaining matches coming at the Oracle Arena, where they are yet to taste defeat in the campaign.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will be fully aware of the challenges his side face to claim their place in history and then go on to achieve their second championship on the spin having played for the Bulls during their triumph 20 years ago.
There are a lot of similarities between the two teams, with Curry taking the role of Michael Jordan as the standout player and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in the supporting position filled by Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen.
Phil Jackson’s men were far and above any side in the NBA during the 95-96 season, posting a 72-10 record before clinching the franchise’s fourth championship. The Bulls’ legacy continued by winning titles in 1997 and 1998 before the team’s run was ended by Jordan’s retirement.
The Warriors find themselves in the middle of establishing their own dynasty, with their star performers in the prime of their careers and intent on delivering back-to-back titles.
However, the obstacle ahead remains the Spurs, their wily coach Popovich and the rising talent of Kawhi Leonard along with the experience of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, who seem destined to face the Warriors in the Western Conference final.
Golden State remain at odds of 10/19 to secure a place in the Finals in the NBA Championship betting stakes, while they are backed at 5/6 to clinch the crown for the second year in succession.
Kerr’s men will remain focused on eclipsing the legendary Bulls by ousting them from top spot on the all-time record list, which will enable them to secure the number one seed in the Western Conference and with it home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Their regular season record will earn plaudits for generations, but the Warriors will know that only ending the season with the NBA Championship in their grasp will seal their place in history.